"Congress is asked to rush through a momentous decision, as if great armies were already on the march. I hear no armies marching. I hear a world crying out for peace".
I wonder how history will eventually judge Henry Wallace. Certainly no household name, Wallace was first Secretary of Agriculture in FDR's first term. During FDR's third term he was Vice-President. He had a dramatic split with Truman in 1946 and ran on the Progressive third party ticket in 1948. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has an interesting essay on Wallace (linked here) written for the L.A. Times a while back. The address I'm putting up today is from a rally sponsored by The Progressive Citizens of America in March of 1947. At the time a civil war was going on in Greece and tensions were erupting with neighboring Turkey. Iran was in the midst of a civil war. In fact, the whole Middle East region was on the brink of major changes. All of this and the fact that Europe was still struggling to get back on its feet after the war and Russia was emerging as a major world power.
Wallace was a firm believer in the United Nations and was afraid it would go the way the League Of Nations had only a few years earlier. The question of oil as a reason for going to war started coming to light, and it's interesting to see how this particular argument has been played out repeatedly the past 60 or so years.
Wallace has been dismissed as naive, an idealistic relic in a world slipping into Cold War. It's worth wondering if even he could have anticipated the turn of events that took place a few months after this speech was given. Probably more interesting to consider if he had stayed in favor with the Roosevelt administration and continued as vice-President for a fourth term, how the world stage might have changed if he had become President in April of 1945.
(Henry Wallace with running mate Sen. Glenn H. Taylor in 1948)